I believe that art is everywhere.
Sure, it is easy to recognize art when you gaze at an amazing sculpture or observe the fluidity of an accomplished dancer. But I think there is also art in the everyday things that we see and do. A friend of mine feels that if you are going to take the responsibility of driving an automobile, you should take it very seriously and master it. He is, as a result, an excellent and very observant driver. He has made driving his car to work every day an art form.
I see art when the sunlight throws patterns onto a wall, whether it is filtering through the linear slats of a shutter or dancing from the shadows of trees. There is art in a job well done- whether it is a well-crafted brick wall or a meal served thoughtfully and efficiently by an excellent waitperson. There is certainly art in parenting well, and cooking is clearly an art form. There is art in maintaining a healthy marriage, or a long-lived friendship. There is art in lovingly taking care of an aging parent. Art is also present in the appreciation of delicately complicated things, like wine.
I develop apartment complexes for a living. There are many who dislike apartments, and I agree that there are many unlikable examples. But I like to think that what I do is artful. Finding the perfect blend of exterior building materials, colors, signage, lighting, landscaping and even the mundane things like rain gutters, stucco texture, and the like is not simple. It requires astounding amounts of consideration, and when done well, is, to me, like a canvas well painted. I consider how the residents of my apartments will live their lives every morning and evening, how far they will have to carry their groceries, if the wire shelving in the closets allows the clothes to slide freely along the rod, where the television will go, if the sinks in the kitchen are deep enough to make sense, which way the doors should open, how the carpet will show dirt. The decisions seem endless, and frankly can be very stressful to make, given the self-imposed pressure to make it astounding. There is a balance between what I can pay to build and what I can feasibly charge for rent, and I have to decide where the money is best spent, at every minute turn. So, when I first walk into one of the completed apartment units, look at the view out of the bedroom window, and observe the details that will make life good for whoever ultimately lives there, I feel like an artist. I get to satisfy my left brain creative side through a thing that most would not consider artful.
The dictionary lists twenty definitions for the word “art”; but I would define it as that which is striking or extraordinary, to any of the senses, or to the soul. Taking the mundane and raising it to an art form, or being able to see the artfulness in it is, I suppose an art in itself. Life is not always simple, but there is always art to be achieved in most every thing, it seems to me. Life is good.
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